There was once a village. And in this village there was a slew of gossip – work gossip, hot gossip, bad gossip, outright untrue gossip, relevant gossip.
Everyone went to the Dirty Duck each evening and went over the gossip in great detail. There were a whole host of folk doing this: earnest caring people worried about the village; hotheads who wanted to ‘do something about it’; stupid people who got it all wrong everytime a fact slid across their reduced cerebral cortex and plain nasty folks who just made it up.
A cop came in one night and said: ‘The chief doesn’t want anyone to gossip anymore. That’s from HQ. No…more…gossip.’
Everyone looked at each other, shut their mouths, waited for the policeman to exit and then proceeded to gossip again, maybe even more vociferously this time. It was out of control as was the village.
Well… this is the Giggs and Twitter story in a nutshell. The law doesn’t matter. Judges can pound their gavels all they want, callow footie stars can spend £200,000 on superinjuctions to stop the gossip- true or not- about their sex lives and papers can get all het up about things like principles and issues. Politicians like John Hemmings can use it for self promotion.
It doesn’t matter.
The mob rule of the digi-generation is now law. The bad guys with the lynching rope are the law and the muscle. Twitter and any other social media have no rules, no laws and definitely no overarching principle except to exist and feed the beast called The User. And the User is Us.
It is alarming that we mix up major issues like freedom of the press or the oil traders, Trafigura, who gagged newspapers about toxic waste with junk news about celebs and sex.
And it is alarming to reflect that in Egypt and Tunisia they used Facebook and Twitter to spark off democracies. Here we use it to name overpaid pampered athletes who like sex.
We get the world we deserve
- Read Dave Woodhall’s take on the Giggs/Hemming injunction case here